More than 150 vendors are protesting the move by Jinja City authorities to evict them from Kyabazinga Market. The market was allocated to traders along with the Jinja-Iganga highway traders by Busoga Kingdom authorities in the late 1960s.
The vendors, most of whom have spent close to three decades selling in the market, want the city authorities to relocate them to another area, rather than forcefully evicting them.
Speaking to journalists on Friday, the vendors say that, Jinja city authorities have persistently issued them eviction notices, which has affected their operations.
Jalia Bilyeli, a trader says that a section of the traders is conniving with city authorities to grab the market land, arguing that, if sanity is not restored on time, such tendencies might breed insecurity.
Jessica Kavenjje, the market vice chairperson says that she has spent close to 42 years and they have been paying annual royalty fees to Busoga Kingdom and monthly revenue collections to the then, Bugembe town council authorities.
Kavenjje however, argues that, ever since Jinja became a city, they started receiving eviction notices directing them to leave and pave way for the construction of a modern taxi park.
Iduma Kintu, another trader says that they have seen surveyors opening boundaries and planting mark stones within the market, an act which has since left them in suspense on whether the market was sold off to private investors or is still owned by the kingdom.
Busoga Kingdom officials have declined to comment on the contested market, however, Jinja Northern Division Town Clerk, Abubaker Kirunda says that local authorities resolved to have a change of use from the market to a taxi park that, would reduce traffic congestion in Jinja city’s central business district.
Kirunda adds that the affected traders will be absorbed in other markets within the city.